Steve Boyd, Head of Trade Sales at Altecnic, explains the benefits of using thermal balancing thermostatic radiator valves on heat pump systems.

A recent UK study by the Heat Pump Association of its members revealed that manufacturers have placed orders with their supply chains to deliver a total of 67,000 heat pump units in 2021. This equates to nearly double the number of heat pumps on shelves and in warehouses ready for installers to meet the growing consumer demand.

It should be no surprise that heat pump installations are growing in popularity as they improve the efficiency of energy systems and can reduce bills by up to 26%, according to Greenmatch. They can also prove to be a costly investment that needs to be protected. As such, careful consideration should be used when selecting components to optimise and protect each part of the system.

The importance of balancing a heat pump system

During the ‘start-up’ period of a heating cycle, the heating circuit, if incorrectly balanced, can pull an excessive amount of energy. This is because there is a large initial temperature difference between the flow and return pipework. This large draw of energy can negatively affect the operation of a heat pump.

Independently managing flow rates

Any system that has a heat pump as its energy source would benefit from installing an automatic dynamic balancing valve. By accurately managing the flow rates throughout the heating circuit using a flow settable, pressure independent, thermostatic radiator valve, an installer can optimise their design and ensure each part of the system receives the correct amount of energy independently, thus increasing the working life of the compressor within the heat pump.

In addition, any hydronic circuit serving a secondary system must be balanced, meaning that they must be constructed in such a way as to guarantee the design flow rates of the thermal medium. Due to this, specific balancing devices are required depending on the varying system types and appliances used.

Finding the solution

There are existing products on the market that help to efficiently solve this issue, without a big outlay. For example, the Caleffi 230 Series DYNAMICAL Thermostatic Radiator Valve allows the automatic dynamic balancing and pressure-independent adjustment of the heating system. Devices like this, in conjunction with a thermostatic, electronic, or thermoelectric control, combine different functions in a single component.

When looking for the best valve to install on a heat pump powered system, an installer should consider to use valves that can balance a heating system automatically, ensuring that each terminal receives the set flow rate. This feature means that, even in the case of partial circuit closure, the flow rates in the open circuits remain constant at the set value.

By using automatic dynamic balancing valves in combination with thermostatic control heads, the surrounding temperature can remain automatically constant, thus guaranteeing effective energy saving.